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Thursday Market Note: Will LeBron Rally Continue?

Nobody could come up with a good reason for yesterday's big move up for stocks, so let's call it the LeBron James rally. (The buzz/hope in New York was that tonight's announcement from Greenwich, CT meant the "The King" would be coming to play for the pathetic Knicks. I'm guessing he may have been in tony Greenwich to check on his hedge fund performance.)

LeBron or not, stocks enjoyed the first broad rally of the quarter, with US indexes posting their biggest point and percentage gains since May 27th and the third largest gains this year. The Dow rose 274 points or 2.8 percent to reclaim the 10,000 level at 10,018; the NASDAQ jumped 3.1 percent to 2159; and the S&P 500 added 32 points to 1060. Crude oil jumped over $2 per barrel, to $74.07.

The "news" of the day was a Mortgage Bankers Association report of an uptick in refinance activity. The Refinance Index increased 9.2 percent from the previous week and is the highest since the week ending May 15, 2009. Historically low 30-year mortgage rates at 4.6 percent are luring homeowners with good credit and ample equity.

In today's markets, Asian shares traded up, while European stocks increased on the back of separate decisions by the European Central Bank and Bank of England to leave rates unchanged. US stock futures are essentially flat, as investors await June sales results from 28 major retailers. Same store sales are expected to rise over 3 percent.